Sunday 04.13.2014 New York Times Digest

11mackay-blog427

1. Who Are Hit Men?

“That idea, of doing something so inhuman, makes the hit man intriguing. Getting close to the unknowable, creating a character who occupies the corners so dark no normal person can see into them. We don’t want to be hit men. We don’t find them glamorous; we’re repulsed by them. But we want to understand.”

2. Diversity and Dishonesty

“We have far too many powerful communities (corporate, academic, journalistic) that are simultaneously dogmatic and dishonest about it.”

3. Sweet Tale of Friendship (Sex, Too)

“Mr. Turturro and Mr. Allen share a barber, and one day Mr. Turturro idly suggested while getting his hair cut that he should write a movie in which he played a prostitute and Mr. Allen played his pimp.”

4. You’ll Go Far, My Pet

“Being a pet parent today — nobody uses the word ‘owner’ anymore, apparently — means cultivating intelligence, manners and communication skills the way the parent of, say, a small human might.”

5. The Justice Gap

“One theme implicit in Taibbi’s reporting is the extent to which the justice system’s newer kinds of inequalities are driven by technology. Computers encourage both the government and the banks to operate on a scale at which consideration of individual circumstance isn’t really possible.”

6. Home Improvement

“Basic problems like educating millions of people, giving them safe drinking water and making sure they have food cannot be solved by hacking the system; change on that scale requires changing the system.”

7. Models With Doctorates

“The clothier has asked women who are Ph.D.s or doctoral candidates to model ‘smart new spring fashions’ (get it?).”

8. Who Advises Best, Pros or Profs?

“Over the past several decades, student support services has been the fastest-growing category of employment in higher education, and the positions, which include academic advising, now make up nearly one-third of professional jobs on campuses.”

9. Looking for America Beyond Its Borders

“Has a discipline that in the 1950s and 1960s was a model of bold interdisciplinary inquiry — fusing literature and history, sociology and economics, popular culture and ethnography — changed, or degenerated, into a bastion of ideological militancy?”

10. Free to Be Mean: Does This Student Satire Cross the Line?

“Issues are peppered with jokes about homosexuals, Jews, Latinos, African-Americans, cancer patients and injured orphans.”

11. 10 Courses With a Twist

“Some professors can make a subject sing, and their courses are not just a credit but an event.”

12. What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)

“I literally cried for three days when we got that first financial aid offer. I was in such shock, it took me three days to regain my composure and call them and say, ‘How are we supposed to afford this? You must be kidding.’”

13. The Fading Honor Code

“Ethical judgment, it seems, has been supplanted by our need to succeed.”

14. The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie

“There are musicians as obscure as Wiley and Thomas, and musicians as great, but in none does the Venn diagram of greatness and lostness reveal such vast and bewildering co-extent.”

15. The Triumph of Personal Style

“The more you know about the past, the more you realize that there is little comfort in extremes. The enduring interiors are often the underdecorated ones, and maybe even the ‘undecorated’ ones — the rooms where somebody tried less to create a ‘look,’ than just be themselves.”

16. A Dual Review of What’s New, Starring Kelis and Alejandro Jodorowsky

“I never eat popcorn because, for me, it’s a symbol of the idiocy in the cinemas.”

17. The Aesthetes

“It’s an old story — as old as sailing and sex — yet there is always something new coming over the strait. Indeed, it may be the hunt for newness in an old port that brought them here, adventurers and outsiders — from Mark Twain and Delacroix to Yves Saint Laurent and Tennessee Williams — who merely broke the path for the uprooted of today. Deep in the Casbah and high on the slopes of Vieille Montagne, you find these people, these elegant, exotic plants who fill their days with lunch parties and gossip. They may be the harmless denizens of an old idea, doing it with style, living beyond their means but strictly within their taste. It is a painted city where ripe vegetables and aged spies litter the souks, where men of hidden consequence can always find a drink. Most of all, Tangier is a city where attention to detail is undivided, a place where you meet people just crazy for beauty.”

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